Founded in 1970, Chun Kerr LLP is an award-winning Honolulu-based law firm specializing in real estate; finance; business transactions and organizations; estate planning and taxation. Our attorneys have been widely recognized for their expertise in local, national and international transactions and litigation, and we value building long-term relationships with our clients.
The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory has given Chun Kerr LLP its highest rating for ability and integrity for over thirty years. Members of the firm have earned recognition in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America and in Honolulu Magazine’s annual survey of best lawyers in Hawaii, and they are also listed in Super Lawyers and Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Since 1990, the firm has served as Hawaii’s representative to the American Counsel Association, and our partners and attorneys are active members of the Hawaii State Bar Association (including two past HSBA presidents and three past chairs of the Real Property and Financial Services Section), the American Bar Association, and community organizations. We actively participate in professional speaking engagements and contribute to numerous publications.
Our practice areas are outlined below, as well as our Government Affairs services.
Real Estate & Finance
- Our experience in both financial and real estate law is unparalleled in Hawaii. This deep understanding of complex buying, selling, refinancing, lending, constructing, renovating and foreclosure issues allows us to work confidently with clients to evaluate the long-term objectives of each project, proactively setting a strategic course for the future. As skilled deal makers, we efficiently structure transactions for borrowers and lenders, navigating nuanced regulations in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
– Purchase and sale of commercial properties
– Retail, commercial and ground leases
– Real property-based financing and mortgages
– Title insurance and other title matters
– Property management
– Real property development and subdivisions
– Condominium development
– Land use and zoning matters
– Asset-based secured transactions
Business Transactions & Organizations
- With major business and organization issues, specialized corporate law experience counts. Our attorneys are among a select few in Hawaii trained in corporate and general business matters for privately held, locally owned companies and nonprofit organizations. We take a pragmatic approach to each situation, seamlessly negotiating agreements, acquisitions and investment opportunities.
– Corporate and general business matters, including for-profit and nonprofit business acquisitions
– Formation and structure
– Qualifications to do business
– Governance, operations, transactions and compliance
Trust & Estate Planning
- As one of our founding areas of practice, trust and estate planning is at the heart of what we do. Our extensive background makes us one of Hawaii’s go-to firms for client wealth transfer and tax planning. We pride ourselves on identifying and understanding issues that other attorneys overlook, and take a customized approach to the diverse goals of each client. Our results are anything but cookie cutter.
– Preparing, implementing and administering plans designed to meet client wealth transfer and objectives
– Tax planning for wealth transfers
– Advise in the administration of trusts and estates
With decades of combined experience, our attorneys are among Hawaii’s leading experts on tax issues, providing a comprehensive selection of services – notably, business and real estate structuring, tax planning, and federal and state tax controversies and litigation. Our work includes constitutional challenges to the City & County of Honolulu’s Residential A real property tax classification, federal preemption of the State of Hawaii General Excise Tax, and numerous tax appeals involving the application of general excise tax exemptions and credits, including the Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit. Tax law can be difficult to navigate. Our dedicated attorneys stand behind our clients every step of the way.
- – Business and real estate transactions structuring
– Federal and state tax audits and appeals
– Tax-related legislation and rule making
- – Real property taxation
- – 1031 Exchanges
- – Low income housing projects
- – Business entities and tax exempt organizations
Business, Commercial and Real Estate Litigation
- Our litigation attorneys have an outstanding reputation with local attorneys and judges for honesty, fairness, diligence and intelligence. We have traditionally been selective in choosing to represent clients whose values are consistent with our own, and our clients benefit from that history. In complex matters, we often collaborate with specialists, and our network of relationships within Hawaii and elsewhere ensures that our clients always have the strongest possible litigation team.
– Commercial landlord-tenant disputes
– Complex foreclosures
– Corporate and securities litigation
– Eminent domain
– Land-use litigation
– Labor and employment litigation
– Real estate litigation in state and federal courts
– Arbitration and mediation
- Our experienced government affairs director works closely with clients to monitor and advocate legislative and executive activities throughout federal, state and county agencies. With an intimate understanding of the regulatory process and long-term working relationships across a range of key areas, we successfully navigate matters of interest. Our firm’s comprehensive approach to issues allows us to develop viable solutions and support positive outcomes, no matter how complex.
Karen M. Piltz
Director, Government Affairs
Karen M. Piltz has an extensive background serving high-profile clients across numerous industries throughout Hawaii. Her specialized experience includes real estate, business transactions and taxation.
A former researcher for the Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, she has worked on pivotal projects in the areas of land use, water, agriculture, Native Hawaiian rights and the environment. Current projects cover: economic revitalization, taxes, REITs, habitat conservation plans, real property taxes, diversified agriculture, the revitalization of former sugar lands and plantation communities, the production of renewable energy sources, the revitalization of the urban core, harbor revitalization, grant-in-aids, CIP programs, and real estate development.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in public administration and is an active member in community organizations including the Hawaii State Association of Counties, the Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials, the American Planning Association – Hawaii Chapter, The National Conference of State Legislatures, the Urban Land Institute, the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, the American Cancer Society-Hawaii, Planned Parenthood-Hawaii, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She most recently served on the Committee on the Status of Women for the City and County of Honolulu.